Garlic brings Koreans closer

SEOUL (Reuter) - The Korean craving for garlic has crushed the world's last Cold War barrier. Communist North Korea and capitalist South have agreed, in a rare case of direct trade between the ideological foes, on a barter deal involving 5,000 tons of garlic.

Garlic and spring onions are vital ingredients in kimchi, the fiery pickle side-dish which is considered an essential part of any Korean diet. A shipment of 1,000 tons of garlic was sent last month to the North from the South, with the permission of the Unification Ministry. South Korea has agreed to exchange 5,000 tons of garlic and 500 tons of onions for 1,300 tons of buckwheat and 100 tons of beans.